If you see or hear of a wrong being perpetrated and say or do nothing, then you are complicit in that wrong. Hence, after reading the letter to the editor on June 10 from Lynna Lewis, I am compelled to write.
First, since Lynna seems to be a new member of our community, I say, “Welcome.” Now, how about getting to know your neighbors, many of whom are the sheriff’s deputies standing outside the Santa Clarita station on June 4? Many, if not most of the officers and support staff live, raise their families and volunteer here in their hometown. Because you are relatively new to Santa Clarita, perhaps you are unaware that three of the four current and last captains are minorities — two black captains and Capt. Justin Diez, Latino. None of these men are storm troopers or predators. All of them believe in and practice “community” policing. When you moved to California you didn’t choose to locate in Compton, North Torrance or Wilmington, areas of notably high crime rate, but to Santa Clarita, one of the top 10 safest cities in the country.
Well, Lynna, Santa Clarita didn’t become so safe accidentally. It took years of “community policing” by the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. I noticed you continually referred to them as police — they are sheriff’s deputies and they are responsible for all of the people of the county of Los Angeles. On June 4 these officers had been working, some for several days, on 12-hour shifts. They were positioned around the station to “protect” the station, our station, from those who may not have been as peaceful as you. Everyone in the country had already seen the burning of police stations, particularly Precinct 3 in Minneapolis. That was not going to happen to our station, and, I for one say, “Thank you.”
Just a point: Eric Garcetti is mayor of Los Angeles; Cameron Smyth is mayor of Santa Clarita, and I guarantee those officers know that.
It is good that you got to know the names and lives of your fellow protesters — as it should be — but did you learn the names of the officers you were schooling? You asked if the officers knew any kids at Saugus High School and how they were doing. This station has continually reached out to that campus since November and many of the officers and staff are parents of students at Saugus. You would have known that if you had asked instead of painting all law enforcement with the same tar brush. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, you could have met with officers and the captain from Santa Clarita at “coffee with a cop” gatherings at coffee shops around the SCV — a casual get-to-know-each-other event.
To your husband I say, “Thank you for your years of service in the Marine Corps.” Everyone in this country owes him a debt of gratitude. However, the story you related was anecdotal at best. By the way, deputies never refer to their vehicles as “cruisers.”
You said you “spoke out clearly and calmly, to the police in front of me…” and that … “they stood still with their guns in front of them — some with fingers on the triggers.” That is simply untrue. Every sworn officer knows better than that. Trigger safety is one of the first things you have to know — pulling the trigger has to be a deliberate decision, not an accidental discharge. Also, many officers were holding non-lethal weapons. No officer leaves home with the hope or expectation of shooting someone.
I have lived in Santa Clarita 47 years and have had only, thank God, a few occasions to call 911. No one asked me my race, ethnic origin, religion or political party. I always received a polite, prompt response and within what seemed moments, I heard the sirens approach. I will always be grateful to both the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department for the care and concern they have shown my hometown.
Perhaps in the future, Lynna, you will do a better job on your due diligence before condemning an entire group of people without all the facts. Next time you can walk safely, day or night, in your new hometown or get a quick response from a 911 call, you can at least mentally thank these men and women of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station who willingly put their lives on the line for you every day.